Tribesmen are not against Barack Obama, but they have been supporting Hillary. They think she can bring Pakistan out of crisis. Pakistan's turmoil has been affecting the people of tribal areas. Pakistan is going to election amid fear and terror.
The media is expressing apprehensions about the elections and future events. Leading newspaper Dawn in its editorial discussed the situation Pakistan. IT'S a shame that insecurity should come as a unifying trait in a nation divided on most issues. Many who will venture out to vote today will do so with mixed feelings. Those opting not to vote will also wait with bated breath as polling is held across the country. The heavy presence of paramilitary forces in the streets is not a very inviting scene; their absence would have been dangerous. On Saturday, a suicide bomber attacked the PPP's election office in Parachinar killing many people. In South Waziristan, where the local administration says election cannot be held under the existing law and order situation, and in Swat, where election is being held under virtual curfew, it will be remembered as a sad day. Recent violence and acts of terrorism have had a sorry impact on national psyche, taking away the traditional feeling of jubilation and political activism associated with the occasion. Allegations of rigging, even by those contesting the polls, and fear of violence for whatever reason, though the pattern defies all rationality, have further strained the atmosphere on this election day. President Musharraf's controversial actions in recent weeks, his latest, contemptuous dismissal of the people's views as expressed in globally accepted opinion polls and shrouded threats as to what the state machinery may resort to in case election results are not accepted by the opposition, inspire little confidence in a free and fair conduct of the polls. The election commission, the caretaker administration, and now the attorney-general as well as the erstwhile associates of the president, come with an equally heavy baggage, lacking credibility. It's as if the gods had willed it to be this cheerless an election.
That said, the saving grace is that in spite of the odds stacked against the holding of elections, the process is going ahead. To avoid it being seen as an exercise in futility, it must be said again that the responsibility to hold fair elections in a peaceful manner and free of any coercion lies with the government. These should be least of the worries for the voters turning out to cast their ballot under the challenging situation obtaining in the country. There is a dire need on the part of the political parties, too, to exercise caution and restraint in the face of any provocation by their opponents. Voters should be respected for braving the odds and not used as a motley crowd to be held hostage to mob mentality. Premature reactions to election results which may lead to violence must also be guarded against. Let it not be said that democracy does not suit the genius of our people, as Ayub Khan had famously said in the 1960s; today everyone knows that it was more than a fair self-assessment of the autocratic ruler's own failings than those of the people of Pakistan.